Under A Mound Of Earth (Part 2)

He backed into the wall again, staring at the Lady Sinukuan, but as the sight of her holding the box open was even more terrifying than what he saw inside the box, he kept his eyes riveted on the ceiling above him. He screamed again, but it died away in his throat and came out as a choked, rasping rattle.

The ring indeed was there, exactly as he had remembered it—but it was on the ring finger of a dismembered hand. The hand had been severed at the wrist, and worms wriggled out of the little rotting flesh it still had. The stench that came from it assailed his nostrils, and he collapsed to the floor, gagging.

“What—what sort of evil joke is this, my Lady?” he said wildly, when he could finally speak again. “It’s not even funny, it’s—it’s—” He swallowed, still shivering. “Whose hand is this?”

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Under A Mound Of Earth (Part 1)

There was a knock on the door, and when Jose opened it he found himself face to face with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was surrounded by birds of all colors and sizes, all looking up at her with love. She was saying something to him, but he could only stare at her in incomprehension, wondering what in the world he had done for the heavens to bestow such a favor on him.

“You’re . . . ,” he began, but the words stuck in his throat. “You’re. Um. You’re—”

“Maria Sinukuan.” She smiled at him and went on. “Again, I am really sorry to intrude on you, Jose.”

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